How To Share Your Printer With Anyone On The Internet

shutterstock cloud print image resized   How To Share Your Printer With Anyone On The InternetWindows 7’s Homegroup feature makes sharing printers on your local network easy, but what if you want to share a printer over the Internet? This has traditionally been very complicated, involving print drivers, firewall rules and IP addresses. Google Cloud Print, built into Google Chrome, simplifies online printer sharing.

We’ve written about using PrinterShare to share printers in the past, but Google Cloud Print is a much easier alternative. After you share your printer with someone, they can print to it from their web browser – you can even print to your own printer from a browser if you’re away from your computer.

Setting Up Cloud Print

You’ll need the Google Chrome web browser installed to set up Cloud Print. After it’s installed, launch it and open its Options page.

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Click over to the Under the Hood tab and scroll down; you’ll find the Google Cloud Print option hidden near the bottom.

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Click the “Sign in to Google Cloud Print” button and you’ll be asked to register your computer’s printers with your Google account.

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Sharing the Printer

Click the Manage Your Printers link after registering your printers to access the Cloud Print website. You can also access this page by clicking the Manage Print Settings button next to Google Cloud Print on the Under the Hood page.

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The main window here shows a list of print jobs, but you won’t have anything here yet. Click Printers in the sidebar and you’ll see a list of printers on your current computer.

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Select a printer and click the Share button to manage its sharing settings.

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Type an email address into the box and click Share. This box will automatically autocomplete addresses you type from your Gmail contacts, so you can also start typing a contact’s name to find their email address.

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Google Chrome must be open on your computer so it can forward incoming print jobs to your printer. Don’t worry, though — if Google Chrome is closed or your computer is turned off, print jobs will be saved in Cloud Print’s queue online. They’ll start printing automatically the next time you launch Google Chrome.

Accepting The Shared Printer

The person you share the printer with can sign into their Google account and access the Google Cloud Print website. They’ll see an indication that they have a new printer.

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First, they’ll have to accept the shared printer.

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The printer will appear in their list — a face icon superimposed over the printer’s icon indicates that it’s a shared printer.

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Printing A Document

The person you share the printer with can click the Print button and select “Upload File to Print” to upload a file from their computer and print it on your printer.

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You should be able to upload any PDF or DOC file — hopefully, Google will add support for additional file types in the future.

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The “Other Ways to Print” option takes you to a page that lists ways you can access the shared printer from other devices. Google Cloud print is integrated into the Gmail and Google Docs mobile webpages for smartphones and Cloud Print apps are available for iOS, Android and Mac.

Cloud Print isn’t only for sharing your printer with other people; it can also provide access to your printer from other devices. You can use the apps to print from your smartphone or tablet or use the website to print when you’re away from your printer.

Future Features

Google Cloud Print is currently in beta and is evolving quickly. Currently, it supports both Windows and Mac. Linux users can’t share their printers yet, but they can still print using the Cloud Print webpage. Some printers even include Cloud Print support out of the box, so you can connect them to your network and use them without setting up Google Chrome. Expect more printers with integrated Cloud Print support in the future.

Have you tried Google Cloud Print sharing yet? Let us know how well it works for you in the comments.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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27 Comments -

0 votes

Achraf52

It doesn’t work always so it need to be improved, maybe being a single software would be good .

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I’ve played with it and it seems to work for me. It is in beta, though.

I would imagine it should be getting pretty stable by now, since manufacturers are shipping printers that support it.

0 votes

Shawn

LifeHacker

0 votes

IMSH

Before finding MakeUseOf, I was frequenting Geekosystem and TheMarySue; however, the content, although VERY geeky, sometimes flirted in the NSFW zone. To be sure, I will check out a couple of the other sites listed in this post. Thanks for sharing, Dave!

0 votes

Dave Parrack

No problem, IMSH. Geekosystem is definitely on the list for a follow-up post. Thanks for commenting!

0 votes

Thomas Kainz

Why not just buy a router which has a usb print server built in?  They’re readily available and not expensive?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Why go out and buy a router when you can do this for free?

It depends. If you just want to print a few documents once in a while, this is a lot faster, easier and cheaper. If you need something more robust, dedicated hardware may be the way to go.

0 votes

Blah

http://www.dailyrotation.com – why bother with each individual site?

0 votes

Dave Parrack

 Looks like a good site. Thanks for the recommendation.

0 votes

Peter Pottinger

lol digg slashdot and reddit? those websites are nothing more than a tool for students/unemployed to waste time debating with each other.

stackoverflow is the only “real” geek tool that i would agree with

0 votes

Dave Parrack

If you look hard and dig deep amongst the pointless arguments and trolling then Digg, Slashdot, and Reddit have some good content.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Of course! I’m more a Techmeme man than a Slashdot man myself. I find it moves at a faster pace,

0 votes

Dave Parrack

 Thanks, FIDELIS. I hadn’t heard of either. If I ever do ‘Another 10 Geek Sites’ article I’ll be sure to include them. That’s the beauty of MakeUseOf.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

How-To Geek is a good site. They have some good writers. Me, for one! (Shameless plug.)

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I’ve noted it for a possible future article. Thanks for the suggestion :)

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I know what you mean, YouBihar. Slashdot could do with a makeover to make it more user-friendly.

Twitter can be geeky but it all depends who you follow. There’s an idea for an article though, thanks :)

0 votes

rakete

 check Google for your laptop modell or critical Hardware Components (GraphicsCard, Wireless Adapter, Webcam are mostly the problematic ones..) and Linux Distribution you wish to use before installing and running into incompatibilities…

0 votes

rakete

 installing LibreOffice was not an option?

I know exactly what needs to be done to get a windows 7 System running for my softwaredeveloper needs and what needs to be done to get an linux system like ubuntu or fedora ready for work…
 Windows needs 3 times more time to search, download, install and configure all the stuff I need…
 If you are not willing to spend a few hours for learning something new, then maybe your attitude in trying it in the first place makes no sense at all. ;)

0 votes

rakete

A Distribution copying Windows design faults to fit faulty thoughts of windows users, doesn’t make it “the best distribution”.
Maybe the most intuitive one for people from a Windows background… and in comparison to other Desktops, it looks hoary…

0 votes

Daniel Edwards

All regular users care about is being able to use the software. It’s easier to use something that looks like what you’re used to rather than something that may be better designed but which you have to spend time learning how to use and since most computer users are used to Window$ thats what most people care about.

0 votes

rakete

What regular users care about is advertising and what the ads tell them…

I do not see the point why people change from Windows to Linux, when they are all so happy with how windows does things?!
I do not want to see the point why linux distributions have to have a crappy interface to be accepted by Windows users…

For the “normal users” I support, Unity is perfectly reasonable and easier to understand than Windows ever was to them. So It wouldn’t make any sense to provide them with a “windowish” looking Desktop. I have all major desktops installed (shell, unity, kde, xfce, lxde)and let people decide… They always choose Unity, when they are new to linux… mainly because “it is so simple”

But people and thoughts are (thx lord!) different… If you cannot share my thoughts and experience, you are free to ignore them.. ;)

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I’ll give it a try.

Faster pace isn’t necessarily a good thing though, I don’t need 50 new items a day appearing in Google Reader!

0 votes

Dave Parrack

 Ha, you may have a point. Techmeme is great until an Apple rumor begins and then it’s full of that and nothing but that.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

 Ooh, awkward. Sorry, Chris.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

 Thank you. Another two to add to the burgeoning list :)